Sybil Low by Sybil Low

In a recent survey conducted by the EdWeek Research Center, educators across the United States have voiced their opinions on a pressing issue: the use of cellphones in schools. The survey reveals a divided stance among educators, with nearly a quarter advocating for a complete ban of cellphones on school grounds.

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Key Takeaways

  1. Educators are split on whether cellphones should be allowed in schools, with some seeing them as a necessary part of modern education and others as a significant distraction.
  2. The constant access to social media via smartphones is viewed by many educators as detrimental to students’ mental wellbeing and learning abilities.
  3. There is a notable difference between teachers, principals, and district leaders on the issue, with teachers more inclined to support a campus-wide ban.

The debate over cellphone usage in schools is not new, but it has intensified with the near-universal adoption of smartphones by teens. Educators are concerned about the distractions these devices cause, particularly when online disputes escalate into physical confrontations at school. Additionally, there’s a growing concern about the potential addiction students have to their devices.

Educators’ Perspectives

One educator noted in the survey:

“We should be learning to manage cellphones in the classroom. They are here to stay.”

However, the same respondent acknowledged that cellphones are the “biggest distraction.” Another educator shared their experience:

“We recently banned cellphones. Previously, they were allowed during passing time and at lunch. However, they had taken over instructional time.”

Schools attempting to restrict cellphone use face opposition from students and parents, many of whom prioritize the ability to communicate throughout the school day.

Discrepancies in Practice and Belief

While nearly three-quarters of educators report that high school students are allowed to use their phones during lunch, only half believe this should be the case. Furthermore, the survey highlights a significant difference in opinion between teachers and district leaders, with teachers more likely to favor a ban, as 24% of educators agreeing it’s a better solution.

Current Findings

As research show, for now, students are mostly allowed to use their phones during lunch breaks, passing periods, in hallways, and on outside school grounds. 50% of students were also reported to be allowed to utilize mobile devices in the classroom with the teachers’ permission.

Most professionals agreed, that there was nothing wrong with learners using their phones during lunch. Still, most also showed to believe that it should be the sole case for such an activity. Even using mobile device in the classroom with a tecaher’s knowing was viewed as acceptable only by 31%.


The EdWeek survey sheds light on the complex dynamics of cellphone usage in schools, underscoring the need for a balanced approach that considers the educational benefits and potential distractions of these devices. As schools navigate this challenging landscape, the diverse perspectives of educators will play a crucial role in shaping policies that best serve students’ learning and wellbeing.


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